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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Power of the Matchmaker Books

So I rather stumbled upon this series of books by several different authors. It all starts out with a novella Power of the Matchmaker.

I actually didn't read the novella until yesterday. My first taste of this delightful collection was Four Chambers by Julie Wright.

Recently I read Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean and loved it.

I followed that one up with Between Heaven and Earth by Michelle Paige Holmes. This one totally made me cry.

I highly recommend checking out the rest of the books in this collection. I know I'm planning on it.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Photoshop

Can I just say I love Photoshop . . . and I hate it!!!

What an absolutely amazing tool, especially for designers and fantasy map makers (like me). But oh my how many options, settings, tools, frustrations, ahhhhhhhhs you can get from using Photoshop.

I've been designing some covers for my books and it has been quite the experience. The more I work, the better I get and the more I learn, but sometimes I wonder if I will ever get the cover right. There are so many teeny tiny little things I can change or alter, that will change or alter the entire appearance of the cover.

Every option makes me sigh. Every change makes me question if it is better than the last. So many options, so little time. I get tired just thinking about it.

Perhaps I will put it away and actually work on editing something, after I make this one little tweak.


. . . Three hours later

There it's perfect. Now I can set it aside. I'm just going to fix that one little thing in the corner . . .




Friday, July 8, 2016

Cover Reveal

Hi all,

I posted this all over Facebook, but then I realized I needed to post it here as well.

So here is the cover for my next book coming this fall.


It will be available in September on Amazon and wherever Deseret Books are sold!!!

Crossing Lines is a historical novel set in the backdrop of German-occupied Austria and Italy during World War II.
Captain Charlie Banks, an American B-17 bomber pilot, never thought he’d get stuck behind enemy lines. He never thought the war would tear his life apart. And he never thought he’d fall in love with the enemy.
After his plane crashes in Austria, he makes for the Italian border with his navigator and friend, Sam, the only other surviving crew member. They stop for the night in an abandoned barn only to be discovered the next morning by Marianne Leichtner. To the Americans’ relief, Marianne doesn’t turn them in. In fact, she and her mother hide Charlie and Sam.
Marianne’s courage and character soon win Charlie’s heart. When the Nazis come looking for survivors of the plane crash, Charlie realizes he and Sam can no longer put Marianne and her mother in danger. 
The two Americans must cross through enemy territory and find a way back to England. If they get caught it could mean their lives, but if they succeed, Charlie may never see Marianne again.



Sunday, July 3, 2016

Kindness Begins With Me

Take a look at these pictures.




What do you see when you look at these pictures?
Good? Bad? Wrinkles? Bags under the eyes? 

It certainly isn't the whole picture.

Quote  
Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.
-The Virtue of Kindness, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005

Quote 
Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.
-The Virtue of Kindness, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005

Question: How has an act of kindness from you or to you affected your life?

Quote 
The things you say, the tone of your voice, the anger or calm of your words—these things are noticed by your children and by others. They see and learn both the kind and the unkind things we say or do. Nothing exposes our true selves more than how we treat one another in the home.

I often wonder why some feel they must be critical of others. It gets in their blood, I suppose, and it becomes so natural they often don’t even think about it. They seem to criticize everyone—the way Sister Jones leads the music, the way Brother Smith teaches a lesson or plants his garden.

The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.
-The Virtue of Kindness, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005

Question: What is your idea of perfection?

Quote 
When we are filled with kindness, we are not judgmental. The Savior taught, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” He also taught that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
-The Virtue of Kindness, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005

Quote 
Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.

Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.

We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And we are here with the same purpose: to learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
-The Virtue of Kindness, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 2005

Question: How often to we judge others’ imperfections? How often do we judge our own imperfections against others’ perfections?

Quote 
Of course, there are times when a woman’s ability to endure is taxed to the limit. A teacher may have had enough of childish pranks, or a mother might be heard to say she’s “ready to resign.” She could become discouraged, especially if comparing herself unrealistically to others or focusing on what she is to do instead of on what she is to be.

Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection. (See D&C 67:13.) 
Woman-Of Infinite Worth by Elder Russell M. Nelson, October 1989

Quote 
In the end, loving yourself is not about tooting your own horn or conforming to the world’s view of self-esteem. It’s about being who you are—a unique child of God—and knowing that who you are is a good thing. When you understand your eternal worth and you live in a way consistent with your divine heritage, you will gain a lasting self-esteem that is better than anything the world can offer. 
- Truth, Lies, and Your Self-Worth by MINDY RAYE FRIEDMAN

Look at the pictures again.

When we focus on the imperfections, or build our frame too small, we miss the beauty of the whole picture, the picture that our Savior sees, the person you are and will become.

Now let's look at the whole picture.






Quote 
My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!
. . . He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.
. . . God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become.
-You Matter to Him, Elder Uchtdorf, October 2011

She by Cherie Call

She is not the picture on the magazine
She's the woman just behind you at the checkout stand
She may appear to be common but she mystifies
In all the ways the wisest men and children understand
'Cause she has eyes that sparkle with her love
And she has a smile that's as gentle as a dove
And no woman from a movie or an ad could ever hope to be
As beautiful as she

She is not a highly honored diplomat
Held responsible to lead the world to peace
But what she does is every bit as serious
Amidst the turmoil everywhere that will never cease
'Cause she has hands that wipe the tears away
And she has a voice that makes everything O.K.
And no woman from the papers or T.V. could ever hope to be
As indispensable as she

And it breaks my heart every time I see her wonder
If she means anything in this world that pulls her under
And she doesn't always see the way that Heaven smiles above her
That's the reason I try to always tell her that I love her

'Cause she may not be known for giving millions
To the charities and auctions on the news
But I believe she's given more than anyone
In all the times she's ever had to choose
To give up sleep to rock her children every night
And give her heart to always hold their dreams so tight
And the best that you or I could ever hope to be
Is as wonderful as she
And the best that you or I could ever hope to be

Is as wonderful as she

Monday, May 30, 2016

LDStorymakers Conference

Nan Marie Swapp, Melanie Mason, Michelle Wilson
So I was able to attend the LDStorymakers Conferene at the beginning of this month. What a crazy experience. I really love attending writing conferences, but I always end up leaving the conference feeling like my head is going to explode from all the things I learned and that I will never, never, never be a good author.

I think this comes with the conference territory. Hopefully I'm not the only one. :)

I learned a lot and gained some amazing insights for my writing. Things that will hopefully help me in the future.

I also got to hold some wicked medieval swords, daggers, maces, etc. That was fun.



I went into a chat with the pros room and at the end of that session in walked James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner series. That was fun.

All in all, I had a great time. I got to spend some quality time with a few of my ANWA sisters and met some great new friends. I look forward to the opportunity to attend again in the near future.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Van Gogh Gone by Robin King

And the second installment of Robin King's Remembrandt series has done it once again.

Alexandra Stewart's eidetic memory won't let her forget anything, ever. And finally she has a life worth remembering a Spanish tutor who gives perfecto a new name, a roommate that could double as her sister, and a special role in a spy organization with secret headquarters at Brown University. When Alex's colleague Daly returns from a covert mission in Moscow, he is accompanied by a man she hoped she would never see again. He claims he can bring back to her a loved one she d thought was gone forever. But the price he demands could be impossible to pay: Alex must find and retrieve a stolen Van Gogh painting. From Barcelona to Paris, Alex and Daly's friendship is stretched as they uncover a truth neither one of them saw coming. Alex s unusual gift may help her protect the people she cares about, but will her choices compromise everything else that matters to her?

This was a masterful continuation of the first book. Many times in series we see a continuation of the same theme over and over in the following books, but not this one. In Van Gogh Gone we may still have the same characters, but a whole new dynamic appears among the characters forcing them to learn and grow and decide what really matters in their lives and the lives of those they care about.

Alex's  struggles with who she is and how her choice can change everything becomes an even more important decision in this installment. On top of all that we also get an amazing trip into the world of espionage and art theft, and it isn't always the bad guys stealing the art . . . or is it?

King has once again created a story that is impossible to put down until the very last page and even then I left hoping for more. :) The twists and turns will keep you guessing and in the end you'll be surprised by the decisions Alex must make.

Two thumbs up!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review: Remembrandt by Robin King

I am now a big fan of Robin King

Remembrandt is more than your average YA novel. This book is full of suspense and adventure, all dumped in the lap of a 17-year-old girl.

Alexandra Stewart doesn’t just walk down memory lane, she lives on it. Her eidetic memory records and plays back her experiences, DVD style. It’s great when she aces a test, but not so great when she topples over a cute guy. Talk about an endless loop of humiliation. 

When her Russian professor gives her an impossible puzzle, Alex discovers he has a secret—one that will catapult her into a life of cryptic codes and covert missions. Of course, conducting secret ops would be easier if she weren’t trying to impress her handsome new running partner. As if love weren’t hard enough already, now Alex is trying to find it while dodging bullets and going undercover. 

One thing is for certain, whatever happens will be forever etched into her memory. And some things are better left forgotten.

I was drawn into this story and I simply couldn't put it down. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, Alexandra surprises you. Every character has an unique personality that makes you want to know so much more about them and every interaction she has with those characters draws you deeper into the story.

I love Alexandra. This girl may be only 17, but she is super-intelligent. Even though her perfect recall seems like a way to ease through life, she has never let herself be that way. She uses that perfect recall to actually learn and grow and become better. Her life's experiences are complex and heartrending. You cheer for her and cry with her and thrill with her.

The story is completely believable as well. The more you learn about Alex and her life and her past and her family, the more you want to know and the deeper you get pulled. It isn't just about the espionage and adventure either. Alex makes choices because she really wants to fit in and make a difference in her life. She is the kind of person that makes us all want to be better people.

I highly recommend this book to any reader who wants to take a thrilling ride through the spy world!!!




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: Window of Time by Debra Erfurt

And another fantastic book by Debra Erfert!!!

CIA courier Lucy James never gets used to seeing innocent people killed, but she copes with it—every day. Cursed with the ability to glimpse into the future when a death is about to happen, she has a short window of time to interfere—risking her life in order to change it. No one knows about her curse, until she saves a handsome Los Angeles firefighter trapped between her and foreign operatives hell-bent on intercepting her current assignment. 

LA firefighter Johnny Cartwright’s life changes the moment he meets Lucy. His uncomplicated days flip to dangerously unpredictable after he’s drawn deeper into her secretive world of premonitions. His attraction to Lucy grows as he helps her stop a terroristic plot against the U.S., putting his life between her and certain death.

I loved this book!!! The story was full of danger, adventure, spies, romance, gun fights, and of course a narrow twist of paranormal. It had it all!!!

I fell in love with Lucy from the beginning of the book. She is a strong character with her own personality, struggles, heartaches, and secrets. Her secret: she can see into the future when someone is going to get killed. Her second secret: she can change that future.

The story pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go.

Though the story is told from a few different viewpoints, Lucy's is the strongest. I love her reactions to the other characters and her stubbornness. Every scene makes you want to know more about her and her life. But you also get involved in the characters around you and of course I want to know even more about them.

Johnny is a fantastic opposite to Lucy. He is brave and daring, but also caring and gentle. They make the perfect couple and their unexplained connection and his ability to help Lucy makes you want to cheer for them both all while begging Johnny to stay safe on the sidelines, of course he doesn't. :)

I highly recommend this book to all my readers. It is a clean, exciting, page-turning, book. It is also the first in a trilogy and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!!!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: Four Chambers by Julie Wright

Every time Andra Stone crosses paths with Everett Covington, trouble follows. First she loses her scholarship, then she loses the apartment she’d wanted more than anything. But tragedy hits hardest when she loses her grandmother—the best friend Andra has ever known. She determines that Everett is a talisman of ill fortune. When Everett comes to work in her hospital and is applying for the same position she’d been working toward since residency, Andra believes him to be her personal poltergeist.

The human heart has four chambers—four chances to get it right. Andra has only one chance left.

What a fantastic story of love, heartache, forgiveness, and most of all timing. The story is anything but predictable with twists in the character's relationships that make you want to scream, shout, cry, and laugh. I loved the report between the Andra and Everett. Every event that shook them apart and brought them together made me better understand the role timing has in every relationship and it made the ending so much more valuable to me as a reader.
I also appreciated how the characters never gave in to melancholy or brooding when they were faced with obstacles, but they continued on, striving for their goals. Well done, Julie Wright!!!
Fantastic story. Excellent read.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Blogtour: In The Dying Light by Angela Carling

I’m excited! Today, together we get to talk about people in History who could’ve used a secret keeper. In fact, at every stop in the blog tour, I’ll be talking about famous people who could’ve used a secret keeper. Who comes to your mind first? Don’t tell me yet. First I’m going to give you the skinny on Secret Keepers.



Book two of the Secret Keeper series, In The Dying Light recently released letting fans of the series slip deeper into Winter and Liam’s world now that their lives are forever changed by Winter’s deal with her Secret Keeper.



So what is a Secret Keeper? The Short answer, a mystic creature that has the ability to take on your secret, erasing it and the associated consequences.



Sounds pretty sweet, right? After all, everyone makes mistakes, everyone wishes they could erase the things that make them feel shameful—but there’s a catch. When you give away your secret to said enchantress, you agree to certain conditions, the most important, the next time you have a secret you will not be able to tell it—even if you want to. In The Secret Keeper (book 1 of the series) Winter thought she was done having secrets and made the deal with her beautiful, but insidious Secret Keeper. Little did she know that she would be the only one to witness the murder of her parents and because the murdering called out to her as she fled, “if you tell anyone, I’ll kill you”. Despite needing to tell her second secret, Winter’s tongue was bound by the curse leaving everyone she loved in imminent danger.



Yeah, holy something profane that I would never say…. and this is where the story really picks up steam.
Learn more or purchase the series here:



Amazon click here

Barnes and Noble click here

Ibook click here



Also, if you want to take your chances, I’m holding a giveaway for a digital copy of the first two books in the Secret Keeper series. All you have to do is click on this link a Rafflecopter giveaway "> and enter to win by telling me someone in history that you think really could’ve used a secret keeper or you can choose a different easy-peasy ways to enter, like follow me on twitter or like my Facebook page.
Now that you know a Secret Keeper is, we are going to talk about who could’ve really used one!
I’ll get the ball rolling. A famous person who, I'm pretty sure could’ve used a secret keeper is Shia LaBeouf.





We all loved him in the Transformer movies but he got a little crazy in 2015 when he decided to rap battled using plagiarized lyrics, on line. Some famous people need a secret keeper to hide their devious deeds, but not Shia. He could've used a secret keeper just to hide his silly mistake.  Worst of all, when he publicly apologized for his plagiarism, he plagiarized his apology. Guess that would've been his second secret and he wouldn't have been able to apologize for that. We feel your pain buddy. We've all said dumb things, unfortunately, part of being famous is that big-lo-spotlight on your every move. That's why in this post, I chose you as someone who could have really used a secret keeper.



Who would you have picked? Tell me when you enter to win. I’ll be posting your “people who could’ve used a
secret keeper” on twitter all week so favorite the tweet if you see your guy or
gal!




Below, I’ve attached lots of ways to
connect and an excerpt for Book 2, In The Dying Light. Come and find me. I love
my readers even more than I love chocolate!

A little about Angela
Angela Carling was
raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three
kids and five felines.  After years of
denial she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic which led her to
write her first Young Adult book Unbreakable Love. Since then she’s published
three more books, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The Secret Keeper. Shackled won
the silver IPGA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay. She always
eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing
in public bathrooms.  When she’s not
writing YA novels, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family
or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order. 

Links to connect with Angela



 A book
excerpt from Winter’s perspective

Chapter 1
I knew he
had a secret. After six months as a secret keeper, I could always tell. Usually
their eyes gave them away. This time it was his body language: his shoulders
slumped and his hands hung low, barely touching the sides of his pressed
business suit. I wasn’t fooled by his expensive clothes. Rich people do stupid
things, too, and this was going to bad one—one that would break hearts and
destroy lives. It might be infidelity or a business deal gone wrong. Whatever
it was, his confession was going to be painful to me.   He was the cocky
type, bound to do something stupid again. He might even come back to me. I
could entice him to make a final deal, and I would be free of the secret keeper
curse. I pushed aside my own despicable thoughts.   He prodded along,
inching ever closer to me. He knew I was his savior. I didn’t know who’d told
him, but he was sure I could make his secret go away. I leapt up from
the park bench and ran. My bare feet
made almost no noise on the long sidewalk that pushed me deeper into the city.
  “Wait!” he called, his footsteps pounding overly-loud like angry blood
coursing through my veins. I ducked behind a one-story building and slid my
body against the scratchy stucco wall. My shirt snagged and tore, leaving my
tender skin vulnerable.   He kept in pursuit. “I have to tell you my
secret,” he screamed into the long alley that bridged the distance between us.
“You have to fix it!”   The word it reverberated off the walls like an
odd, taunting echo. I turned, and the man behind me was inexplicably next to
me. He grabbed me, pinning me to the wall with his whole body. He smelled of
rot, stinky wet forest rot, of life breaking down and disappearing forever. I
hated that smell. It was the scent of the secret keeper before me. Now, because
I bore her curse, it would become my stench.   I thrashed against him, but
he held me firm. Every muscle in my body tensed. I closed my eyes and braced
myself.   “I killed my partner so I could have control of everything,” he
confessed.   Words sank through my porous skin and into my defenseless
soul. I arched my back in pain as I absorbed and erased his unthinkable crime.
A scream tore through me and out into my dark apartment.

I sat up,
abruptly woken from my nightmare, gasping for air. My hand went to my face to
find it sticky with sweat, and my heart raced as if I’d actually been attacked.
  The dreams were getting worse. The longer I was a secret keeper, the
more real they felt. Now I wasn’t just taking on secrets during the day, I was
reliving them at night with unforgiving clarity. Is this what my secret keeper
experienced? No wonder she hid herself in a forest so no one could find her. No
wonder she was willing to let me suffer so she could be released.   I
blinked my burning eyes and tried to focus. With fumbling fingers, I reached
for my phone. It was a gift from my boyfriend Liam so that I’d never have to
feel alone. Once I’d become a secret keeper, no one, not even my parents
remembered me.   My heart rate was slowing down, but I still struggled to
push the right buttons. I hit send, and my eyes darted to the clock. I’d been
in such a fog, I hadn’t considered the time. It was 3:00 a.m. Liam would be
sleeping, exhausted from his classes and work. I quickly mashed the glowing
rectangle with the words End Call. The screen went blank, and then a picture of
Liam and I standing in front of a sign that read Welcome to ASU filled the dark
space.   I ran my hands down my face as if I could wipe away not just the
bad dream but the last six months of my life. I let myself fall back on the
bed. On my unclad arms I felt the dampness left by my sweat. I’d have to wash
my sheets again tomorrow. I’d do it after I met Liam tomorrow night.

 Thanks for stopping by and may you never need a Secret Keeper!